Informal probate is a statutory "short form" of traditional probate. It involves a petition and other documents to the Court, whereupon an estate representative is appointed and the case is "closed" for administration. You can gather assets, pay claims, and distribute funds--all without court supervision. Once complete, you file a closing statement with the court and the representative is discharged. This offers a significant advantage to those without a living trust who wish to keep estate administration out of court.